If we don’t direct our faith toward God or into some authentic way of the soul, then we direct it toward progress or science or weaponry or education or nature or human nature or doctors or gurus or genetic engineers or computers or NASA. And as we reduce the objects of our faith and so reduce our faith, we inevitably reduce ourselves.–Wendell Berry, Another Turn of the Crank
There’s a popular stereotype of survivalists as grim, paranoid people holing up with their food and weapons on the outskirts of society, distrusting and fending off everyone except themselves and perhaps a few like-minded cranks. Like most stereotypes, this image is exaggerated and mostly untrue. If we are faithful to our calling as Christian preppers it will not be true of us at all. Also like most stereotypes, it has some very limited basis in truth—and therein lies a warning for us.
It’s true that survivalists and homesteaders tend not to place our faith in governments, corporations or the global economy or the status quo. We tend to doubt the promise that our nation’s armies and our own retirement accounts will keep us safe and well supplied. Many of us have come to believe that these are deceitful promises, false securities. Many of us also believe that placing our faith in these things diminishes us.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, for humans to live without having faith in something. So when we withdraw our faith from the systems around us we must decide where we will bestow it.
We can put our trust in ourselves, in our skills, our stockpiled goods, our courage and wit and resourcefulness. This may feel empowering for a while, but we will be tempted to set ourselves against our neighbors in our pride and fear. We will be tempted to despair when we fail in our work, or as we see ourselves approaching death.
Or we can put our trust in God. We can work diligently as stewards of God’s creation. We can care for neighbors and welcome strangers, following Gods commands. We will still fail at times, but our failure will not lead us to despair, because God’s faithfulness does not falter like ours, and God’s strength is manifest even in our weakness. We will still die, but God will abide.